Sunday, August 10, 2008

Road Course Challenge Not Just For Drivers


It seems that the recent Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have had a number of great stories for the TV network broadcasting the race to tell.

The Saturday Nationwide Series first-time winner Marcos Ambrose was starting shotgun on the field. Kyle Petty had stepped aside to allow ESPN commentator Boris Said to take-over his ride. Sprint Cup qualifying was rained-out and Said was unable to race his way into the event. Up front, Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be pacing the field. This was going to be a good one.

Allen Bestwick hosted the hour-long pre-race show which consisted of many more driver interviews than normal. The network did include the Saturday Nationwide Series race winner Marcos Ambrose and showed some good historic photos while giving a history of the race course.

The program's big story was on Kasey Kahne and his roller-coaster season. It featured ESPN commentator Ray Evernham. The network also focused on "wheel hop" and the gravel traps on this course. ESPN offered much of the same content SPEED has just reviewed on RaceDay.

Bestwick passed-off to Dr. Jerry Punch and things began to take shape as the race began. It was quite a surprise that no full course caution flags flew early in this event. The cars were simply racing and ESPN was working hard to keep-up with all the storylines.

Early in the race it was again a tough time on-the-air for Punch. The transition between the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races proved to be rough, as facts from Saturday trickled over into Sunday. There is always so much going-on in a road course TV broadcast that some things are bound to get lost in translation.

It may have been due to the Olympics, but ESPN inserted the lower-third sports ticker called The Bottom Line during the entire race telecast. In past races, viewers have gotten the 18/58 updates but enjoyed a clean screen for the event. The NASCAR on ESPN graphics package uses a continual upper-third crawl that is a different speed than The Bottom Line. It certainly makes it tough to watch two continually changing unrelated graphics crawls on the same screen at the same time for several hours.

This potentially exciting ESPN telecast lost some steam early when there were no accidents that slowed the action. It was tough for Punch to keep the excitement level even at a minimum as the cars raced. It was as though it was a practice session. Fans listening on the radio or DirecTV Hot Pass were enjoying an entirely different NASCAR experience.

Coming out of commercial break, Bestwick and his infield crew would sometimes take-over and reset the field. The music would blare and Bestwick would get things pumped-up with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Those two may have their detractors, but they worked hard to generate excitement every time they had the opportunity.

Following a critical restart with 25 laps to go, Punch spoke about all kinds of news stories involving driver changes and season point standings. What he did not do was echo the excitement of the infield crew and call the action on the racetrack. This "reporter" style is not working very well on these telecasts.

Popular NASCAR Now reporter and Petty pit crew member DJ Copp was wired with an HD camera and microphone to show viewers the opposite direction pit stops in this race. After Copp was introduced in the pre-race show, he was never heard from again. Punch never referenced his absence.

The ESPN pit reporters rallied to have a much better Sunday than Saturday. While Jamie Little is still making things a bit bigger than they sometimes are, they worked well to reset the field several times and really helped the TV viewers to understand who was where in this scramble of pit stops and tires.

With eight laps to go the big wreck stopped the race. ESPN cut to the accident and followed-up with replays from every angle. Jarrett and Petree spoke about everything that happened and tried to put things in perspective. This duo has really clicked in just the right way this season for ESPN as The Chase approaches.

The final restart was going to be key. ESPN's pictures followed the action until the end and the final lap was great. Good racing always has a nice effect on a telecast. The ESPN Director held the finish line shot and let the field race across the line.

Next week the ESPN crew moves to Michigan for the superspeedway action. The weekend at Watkins Glen turned-out to be a bit of a struggle, but the road course portion of the ESPN Sprint Cup Series is done. That might be a big relief to many on both sides of the TV screen.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy directions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

One thing I thought was sad was that Clint Bowyer finished 23rd, Ragan was 30th, and Jeff Gordon was 29th but ESPN did not seem to care about this at all!

Kenseth moved into the Top 12, Bowyer fell out, and Ragan fell further back and they did nothing to cover these drivers during the race.

Adam T. Martin said...

"One thing I thought was sad was that Clint Bowyer finished 23rd, Ragan was 30th, and Jeff Gordon was 29th but ESPN did not seem to care about this at all!"

I agree on that. The executives at ESPN are probably having a major influence on the lack of post race.

Dr. Punch is just struggling way too much in play by play. Dale and Andy are great to listen to. The pit reporters are great.

The pictures and audio are top notch, but I can do without that bottom ticker.

I give ESPN a B. They outshine Fox and TNT.

boyd said...

Just an observation, but lets look at the ESPN slate of races so far:
Brickyard- Tires were the story and the racing was boring
Pocono- Rain delay made a boring race on a boring track even more...boring
Watkins Glen- Taxis on a roadcourse would be more exciting.
JP is supposed to bring the excitement and keep us informed. I love his pit work, but he is not PXP.
Maybe with a real oval coming up things can improve.

Vicky D said...

Actually, JD, I thought the telecast was better than Saturday's, but I still have to have Nascar.com's live leaderboard up so I can keep up with the field. I thought DJ & AP did a good job in the booth.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone say ESPN outshine TNT or FOX? TNT with RaceBuddy and Wally and Kyle kill anything ESPooN has to offer and Mike Joy calling this or any race would be golden for ANY nascar fan.

if someone could list five positives from espn i would LOVE to hear them. i bet there are two or less...

Anonymous said...

ESPN got really lucky there were only 2 cautions otherwise they would have lost it even more.

Adam T. Martin said...

I'm just glad ESPN/ABC doesn't go gimmick happy like Fox and TNT (gopher cam, magic tricks, annoying TV show promos, overplayed/over excessive commercials).

The camera work is way better, Andy Petree/Dale Jarrett are great in the booth, the pit reporters are 2nd only to Fox, a better but tainted sense of professionalism.

Overall, ESPN has made good of bad situations.

Anonymous said...

No, ESPN has made bas situations worse. You might as well skip the race and come back at the end to find out what happened with them covering it.

Jo said...

Adam T. Martin said...
The executives at ESPN are probably having a major influence on the lack of post race.

Dr. Punch is just struggling way too much in play by play. Dale and Andy are great to listen to. The pit reporters are great.

The pictures and audio are top notch, but I can do without that bottom ticker.

I give ESPN a B. They outshine Fox and TNT.

August 10, 2008 5:37 PM
-------
Wow you grade easy.
I posted this in the other column & after that it bears repeating-

You know it should not be this hard to watch & get info on a sporting event. I'm listening to TV, MRN & have Raceview up & FoxTrax. If some of the Anons posting in who think I'm ( or anyone else muti tasking for complete coverage) think this is normal or is the way it should be think again. I remember - cuz I'm older - when TV ( espn) gave us good complete coverage of the race on the track.
We complained mightily about TNT last year, and they improved. ESPN didn't.

Grade today? C+
Playbyplay when done by Doc was awful - please AB had to step in, DJ & AP were working their tails off to cover for Doc. Please use him as host or reporter for indepth stories. Thats what he's best at - use his strengths.
Yes they had great coverage of the wreck, but, not following up on all the drivers is in excusable.

Speaking of inexcusable, were there more than 15 cars racing today? Not according to the booth most of the time - & they only got mention in the wreck.

Points do not count during the race - the points are adjusted and posted AFTER (yes yelling) the race!
Give me a break - I'm considering lowering my C+ to a C-.

Phathead said...

did anyone else notice how far off the ticker was when the cars crossed the line? I mean at least the first 15 cars crossed the line single file, but the ticker totally missed 5th place finisher Truex, they had AJ listed as 11th when he really finished 9th. Seemed strange to have something so simple be in fact so wrong.

Anonymous said...

AJ Allmendinger did finish 11th - he fell back to spots on the last lap.

TexasRaceLady said...

All I can say is that today wasn't the train wreck of yesterday.

Sophia said...

Grade D +

stricklinfan82 said...

From my perspective today's race shined a very bright spotlight on four major issues, two relating to the basic model of TV coverage of the races and two relating to ESPN specifically:

1.) The Need for Picture-in-Picture During Commercial Breaks

With the crazy road course strategies that have 43 cars all pitting on different laps over a very large span of laps, no TV network can avoid missing a significant amount of pit stops to take full-screen commercial breaks. On an oval it's easier to plan for commercials. Stay on the air under yellow to watch the whole field pit. If green flag pit stops happen, they should all happen in a 5-6 lap span since everyone's on the same strategy, so space the commercials out in between the pit windows. On a road course though it's not that easy. We missed so much today while we were channel surfing to avoid the full-screen ads that is was ridiculous. It's already bad enough to miss lead changes and great racing on ovals. Add all the green flag pit stops we miss on the road courses and it's just a major headache to still have to deal with these full-screen ads on any track.

2.) The Need for an Immediate TV Post-Race Show (On any network)

As usual, the broadcast network had to rush right off the air with very limited post-race coverage. People that weren't watching the Robby Gordon Hotpass channel had no idea what happened to Jeff Gordon on the last lap (Robby dumped him in turn 1). And I don't think anyone at home is aware of who went through the gravel trap and hit the tire barries head-on in turn 10 on the last lap (I could barely see it in the corner of the screen on the Robby channel on the last lap so I don't know who it was). We either need the broadcast network to allow an extra 30 minutes than they would normally schedule for proper immediate post-race analysis, or for Victory Lane on Speed to start immediately after the broadcast network signs off. It just doesn't make sense to have over 3 hours of pre-race TV coverage immediately before every race and nothing more than 3-4 minutes of immediate post-race TV coverage after every race. If anything that trend should be reversed.

3.) ESPN's Refusal to Use a Split Screen Under Green

Just like yesterday, today was another headache-filled day of missing on-track green flag racing action for full-screen green flag pit stops, full-screen Dish Tech Center, and full-screen replays. Fox did very little right during their coverage but this was one area they acceled at. When green flag pit stops were going on, the leader on the track was always in another box on the screen. When a cut-away car segment or replay was necessary on Fox, the racing on the track was kept in another box on the screen. ESPN needs to adpot this split-screen philosophy now. Enough is enough already.

4.) No Follow-Up on the Top 35 in Owner's Points Before Leaving the Air

This was a major storyline all weekend, especially with all the road-course ringers replacing full-time drivers to try to keep cars in the top 35. ESPN itself updated this story twice throughout the day to follow the drama of who would be in and who would be out if the race ended now. But yet again, once the checkered flag fell that story was completely ignored and again we'll all have to wait until Jayski tells us who's in and who's out. The top 35 in owner's points graphic should be a necessary element to the end of every Cup broadcast. After the finishing results and driver's points are shown, it needs to become a must to take the extra 5-10 seconds to show those points as well.

alex said...

Anon 5:54,
You can't even do that, unless you just want to see 15 seconds of racing. Did you see the Sportscenter recap this morning of yesterday's IRL race. It began with "7 laps to go". I have no idea how long the race actually was.

If ESPN treated Nascar as more than just an obligation, the replays/reviews might be worth watching.

Sophia said...

stfan

Thanks for addressing the LACK of SPLIT SCREEN for ESPN.

I seem to remember now they never used that last year when they showed us that stuidas$lame draft tracker OVER gf racing.

But the lack of split screen, well, I treated the tv like radio and tuned in MRN when the wind didn't carry the sound away.

I was in and about doing other things during the race. TOO frustrating to sit thru so many commercials as you wisely pointed out and the lack of split screen.

But I DO APPRECIATE seeing the finish line at the end of the race.

Anonymous said...

There were 2 cautions today. Can you imagine if ESPN had to deal with more than that? They did poorly as it was...with 3-4 cautions like a real race they would have done worse.

Lost in it all was a pretty boring nascar race. why watch this crap until the chase must be their idea.

Anonymous said...

c'mon no one wants to say it but nascar is better followed by listening to MRN and watching foxtrax and that's it.

well, that's what i am doing from now on. i'll have espn/abc on but only because i cant drink enuf in a week to keep watching there awful coverage.

yay lets watch kyle busch win every race. nascar sucks too...

Newracefan said...

While coverage was better than the NW race PXP still needs work, a lot of work. AP and DJ had to do more that their rair share which is why we did not get the strategy updates that should have been provided, thankfully the pit reporters helped where they could. Loved the finish, hated the ticker. Talked about the top 35 before then end of the race but not at the end of the race, this is unacceptable. Still only covering the guys in the front unless of course there is a spin/wreck.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

c'mon no one wants to say it but nascar is better followed by listening to MRN and watching foxtrax and that's it.

well, that's what i am doing from now on. i'll have espn/abc on but only because i cant drink enuf in a week to keep watching there awful coverage.

yay lets watch kyle busch win every race. nascar sucks too...

not only do i agree, but why bother with 7-12 now. It's the same every week. if busch can hold offstewart its not the car its the uhhh.....no maytbe its no chance. wat a sad race.

Anonymous said...
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Illpolo said...
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Anonymous said...
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Newracefan said...

Good lord JD the trolls are pretty bad today

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the race.

Of course, I listened to MRN and used RaceView.

After the recent performance of Punch and Company, not to mention Rusty, I couldn't stand to listen to ESPN's sound again.

And I wanted to know what was going on, so in order to do that, I had to bypass ESPN.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me the reasoning behind a 60- or 90-minute prerace show and then a four-minute post-race show?

TV has access to NASCAR like no other sport, yet we throw that advantage away every week by getting out as fast as possible, if not faster.

Sophia said...

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me the reasoning behind a 60- or 90-minute prerace show and then a four-minute post-race show?

TV has access to NASCAR like no other sport, yet we throw that advantage away every week by getting out as fast as possible, if not faster.

~~~~~~~~

This is SO TRUE. 4 hrs of pre race and we are LUCKY to get 4 minutes sometimes.

THIS TOO where NBC/TBT came in handy as they would throw it to CNBC.

With the action packed races of the last few weeks, it would behoove NASCAR to have a POST RACE SHOW.

ESPN too busy cramming 20 lbs into a 5 lb sack

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you for posting TV-related comments on the race coverage.

The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page.

JD

majors house said...

I found that today was better thanyesterday's coverage, but that would not have taken much. I still say if we had the Speed crew from the truck race last night, the race would have been much more exciting.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a big movement underway to figure out how best to address the post-race issue.

Things will be different in 2009 I firmly believe.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD did you ever get official word as to why the "Bottomline" ticker was up ALL race long?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 8:44PM,

I will have that info tomorrow when the PR guys get back in the office and update that in the TV/Media Notes at the top of the page.

JD

Anonymous said...

Is there an alternate-universe board out there where everyone praises Punch's PBP, thanks ESPN for only showing the top-10 drivers in each race, and congratulates ESPN for getting out of each race as fast as they can?

I can't imagine there being such a board, but ESPN must be reading it, because otherwise the network would have to admit it is ignoring what everyone--the viewers who would keep them in business--is clamoring for.

Anonymous said...

I would guess that ESPN would have had a great post race had it not been for the almost hour long red-flag.
I agree with Boyd's post from earlier...not much excitement in the first few ESPN races and it certainly isn't ESPN's fault.

I think that you might be seeing the dawn of a new kind of booth in sports. The days of the PxP guys doing most of the talking and the "expert" chiming in once in a while might be what you're used to, but I like the "conversation" that Dale and Andy have during the race. I feel like I am sitting on the couch in the same room with them. It's comfortable. Then JP chimes in with the set up, or the stat, or the promo in classic "Cliff Claven" fashion. Every group has one. Why not the ESPN announce booth.
If you put AB in the booth, you lose him in many of his other roles. He is awesome in the pit studio, and he really shines in his Monday role in Bristol.

Open your minds and enjoy the show. Agreed, JP could be more excited, but I bet if you met him on the street, he'd be the same as he is in the booth.

One more thing...
If you (the royal you) don't like the qualifying coverage because it in the little box with all the graphics around it, why do you want 2 little boxes for pitstops. It's the leader by himself in a little box and a pitstop you can't see because its in a little box. I bet ESPN pays handsomely to broadcast in HD and yet you want that beautiful detailed dance called a pitstop squeezed into a little box while some graphic backround fills my great big HDTV screen? If something happens on the track worth being missed, I bet you will get a replay. Otherwise, give me my 16:9!

Sorry for the rant JD.

Dot said...

The race coverage was much better today,

Sophia & Strick,
Ditto on the split screen during the green flag.

With 4 minutes left after KyB got to VL, I almost thought they weren't going to interview him. What I want to know is, would it have hurt anything if the 90 minute Sport Center started late? I don't watch it, do they repeat stories in that 90 mins?

Regarding the "bottom line", football and olympics is probably why it was on all race.

One more thing. The LeMans something race was on SPEED. You should hear how those guys in the booth get excited. Don't know who they are offhand but, they could hardly contain themselves.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:26PM,

No problem with the rant, but I do want to address two things.

First, keep guys like Mike Joy, Rick Allen and AB in your mind. Instead of letting the PXP lapse into a relaxed conversation, they keep the story unfolding on the track and in the race up to date.

That is what I miss with this ESPN approach. While they focus on one thing, the rest of the race seems to be passing them by.

Second, if we as fans sat through the garbage that ESPN tried to deliver as "NASCAR Now" and the Sprint Cup coverage last season and then we returned for 2008, I assure you we must have very open minds.

JD

Brian said...
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Anonymous said...
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Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Thank you. I appreciate the picture and all your efforts. Do you get to eat during the weekends? Your efforts here are really exceptional. You make The Daly Planet stand head and shoulders above others. I just checked another blog by a respected journalist and it has already disintegrated into a name-calling food fight.Thank you.

The Daly Planet attracts intelligent exchange. I sure am glad there are other blogs to attract others.

After ESPN-2007, there is always reason to have hope.

Also, I finally found a report that Bobby Labonte was released from the hospital.

bevo said...

If I didn't have HotPass and FoxTrax today I would have been lost. On HotPass you usually have three screens - one for the ESPN coverage, one in car and the other a wide shot with that driver. It's very easy to follow any of the cameras. When I switched over to the ESPN audio it was like a totally different race was being called.

It seems to me like ESPN is trying to do too much during a broadcast. Go back to the basics - good camera work and timely cuts. Look at the racing in the pack. Let the race itself be the star. Have someone track the pit stops and pass on some strategy.

ESPN has improved from last year but they could really take some pointers from the TNT coverage this year.

Anonymous said...

I would guess that ESPN would have had a great post race had it not been for the almost hour long red-flag.

Today, perhaps, but what's been their excuse for every other race they've broadcast prior to this?

Anonymous said...

I think that you might be seeing the dawn of a new kind of booth in sports. The days of the PxP guys doing most of the talking and the "expert" chiming in once in a while might be what you're used to, but I like the "conversation" that Dale and Andy have during the race. I feel like I am sitting on the couch in the same room with them

Oh, I hope not. See, if I'm not at the racetrack, I need someone to tell me what's happening o the track, not just talk about racing in general.

This lack of focus on the track is what drove me to listen to MRN while watching ESPN today.

alex said...

I would guess that ESPN would have had a great post race had it not been for the almost hour long red-flag.


The red flag was the only thing keeping them on the air for the scheduled time. If the race ended without the red flag it would have been roughly an hour before the end of the scheduled broadcast, and you can bet ESPN would only have a 10 minute postrace before moving to the 90 minute impromptu Sportscenter.

Sure, it would have been a longer postrace than we had, but not long enough to fill up the 45-60 minutes that would have been left for the program to finish.

One of the TNT races (forgive me, I forget which one), ended around 5:20 and had a long postrace show until 6:00 when the scheduled time was over for the broadcast. That will never happen on ESPN, as they have too many more important sports to show us than to interview drivers for half an hour.

It's just one of the necessary evils of a sports network that tries to cover everything. Damn TV contract....

alex said...

Anon: I think that you might be seeing the dawn of a new kind of booth in sports. The days of the PxP guys doing most of the talking and the "expert" chiming in once in a while might be what you're used to, but I like the "conversation" that Dale and Andy have during the race. I feel like I am sitting on the couch in the same room with them

I think you might be right, and I do enjoy the conversation between AP and DJ. However, there needs to be an even balance between the conversation and the PxP. I just hope ESPN finds that before we get to Homestead

Anonymous said...

I thought that the the good Doctor made a strange statement regarding Dale Jr's point situation. After he was caught out on the caution, a big deal was made about him slipping down 2 places. Do they understand how the point system is set up? As it stands now no matter where he finishes he will be no better than 4th when the points are reset. The Shrub, Cousin Carl and Jimmie J all will have more bonus points than Him.

Just thought that it was funny that they overlooked and never corrected this issue.

Frank in Sebring

chase said...

Strick says it best - the coverage with Dr. P at the helm was a mess. Once again, ESPN is NOT seeing the forest through the trees - put AB in in place of Punch and they'll get it right. DJ and Andy continue to be a joy and with AB - as I've said before - it would be an unbeatable triumvirate. Punch is just plain tired - and it shows every time he opens his mouth. If ESPN wants to keep the viewers they've got to make the switch in the booth and make it now - don't wait for 2009 - we deserve the best talent available who can give us what we want - clear and concise coverage - so make the change NOW before Punch completely mires the whole network 'team' in the mud once again. Thanks JD for letting us sound off!

ri88girl said...

The coverage was better than Saturday, but all the things that were wrong in the booth are still wrong.

Anon 9:26 said
"I think that you might be seeing the dawn of a new kind of booth in sports. The days of the PxP guys doing most of the talking and the "expert" chiming in once in a while might be what you're used to, but I like the "conversation" that Dale and Andy have during the race. I feel like I am sitting on the couch in the same room with them. It's comfortable. Then JP chimes in with the set up, or the stat, or the promo in classic "Cliff Claven" fashion. Every group has one. Why not the ESPN announce booth."

No offense, but if this is some new paradigme ESPN is tring to develop it is assinine. NASCAR has WAY too many moving parts to accomodate a 'conversation' in the booth. That is what your friends are for when you're watching the race together. I don't want to be so busy tring to determin what is going on ontack or in the pits that I CAN'T have a convesation with my friends. Frankly, the FOX guys have a conversation too, they just care what their talking about and have their heads in the WHOLE game as we all do. If the picture I am watching doesn't show me something noteworthy, I am dependent on the booth to WATCH THE WHOLE TRACK AND TELL ME WHERE TO LOOK OR REFOCUS MY ATTENTION.

"If you put AB in the booth, you lose him in many of his other roles. He is awesome in the pit studio, and he really shines in his Monday role in Bristol."

Again, no offense, but if ESPN would stop living in denial and put the proper resources in North
Carolina where EVERYONE IS, AB could, and I believe would, do both.

Sorry for yelling JD but I am just sick to death of trying to watch a race with Jerry Punch. With all the things that are shakey with NASCAR right now you would think Brian France would be taking note of the complaints about the coverage, I know his Daddy would have.

GinaV24 said...

I thought the coverage was pretty bad -- I was inside (again) because it was storming on Sunday, so I once more tried watching the race on ESPN, but I wound up using the computer with raceview and the scanner so I could actually follow "my" driver since the TV broadcast was only follow their chosen storyline. I thought it was an incredibly boring race and the PXP done by Punch is just not interesting. I think DJ and Petree do a good job and you can't beat Allen Bestwick (although I can skip listening to Rusty and Brad). The fact that there wasn't any follow up of what happened to Jeff Gordon, who whether you like him or not, IS an awesome road course racer was quite an oversight. One the whole, all the racing has been boring this year, once more we pretty much had a follow the leader race.

Anonymous said...

The race itself was not bad.

But ESPN's coverage reminded me of how right Randy Pemberton was on TP when he said the TV people need to stop just covering the top 10 drivers (and the wrecks).

Sophia said...

I think it was coming here I found out Robby/ie Gordon spun out Jeff on the last lap. I saw dust on the tv towards the back but never a mear mention.

Oh and speaking of camera work, even NBC HIGH RATED olympics has horrible camera work. The girls doing gymnastics: all you see is their facial expression as they run to that vaulting thing (I don't watch this but room mate has a relative into gymnastics) So the whole time you are thinking WIDE ANGLE SHOTS please.

Thought it was just a NASCAR deal.

sigh

haus20 said...

Well it is good to be back...I had to do a laptop harddrive transplant, but I digress.

Since I have not really been on the Daly Planet since ESPN took over, here is what I have noticed.

It seems that Dr. Punch is watching a completely different race. He seems to make so many off the wall statements trying (i guess) to sound excited. He references guys coming up through the field when at the time they are farther back than where they started...how did they get there?

No real coverage on who was on what pit strategy. No coverage on why different drivers went a lap down.

No real coverage on how the "ringers" were doing coming through the field.

On top of that, the cameraman in the tech center or maybe the director of that camera need to rehearse the shots they are going to use before they go to Brewer. You never can see what Brewer is trying to point out.

Using a wide shot to point to the brake bias knob and the brake components under the hood doesn't work...either tighten the shot or don't do the piece...it was pointless.

A general pet peeve for all of the networks...if you are going to change the lap counter when there is less than 100 laps to go to a lap countdown, please talk in those terms when you are explaining which lap a driver has to pit on or which lap he last pitted on...when the upper left of the screen says 87 to go and you are telling me that the driver has to pit or last pitted on lap 213, that doesn't do much for me. I don't have the total laps of every race memorized. Keep it as how many laps ran out of how many total.

I too often wonder why there is soooooooooo much pre-race speculation and so little post-race reality. I hope that they do get that fixed for 2009.

Kenn Fong said...

Haus,

Good point. I think all networks should pick one method of displaying the number of laps either completed or to be raced and then stick with it as a permanent protocol through the season.

In fact, I would mind seeing one of those little thermometer diagrams showing what portion of the race is completed and what remains.

By the way, is anyone interested in doing a live site with pit stop information for the field or even just the Chase and bubble drivers? Is it possible to get that information without being present at the track press room?

Kenny - Pacific Time Zone, Alameda, California

Kenn Fong said...

wouldn't

Kenny - Pacific Time Zone, Alameda, California

Anonymous said...

Two things were wrong with this week end (sunday)first of all it was a road race? and second it was televised by ESPukeN

Anonymous said...

It occurs to me that part of the problem is that ESPN, using the football model,is trying to have SIX guys in the booth (two booths, but still), when three will do.

This is part of the more-is-NOT-better problem.

Dot said...

Haus and Ken,

Thanks for bringing up the lap counter issue. Even when I know how many laps the race is, I still can't do the math. Must be a blonde thing.

Let's hope the ESPN suits make these changes so our race viewing is more pleasurable. I'm not holding my breath.

Brian said...

I was not sure where to post this, here on in the roundtable commetns. But my comments are about the poor quality of the coverage durring the race so I'll post here.

I do not know home many times I'll be watching ESPN and hear driver D is passing driver Z, when in reality, and with the pictures we are seeing on the tv is is driver Z passing driver D. I know this is a small thing, but this is the "meat and potatoes" of calling a race. If ESPN can not get that right what can we expect?

The bottom ticker is something NASCAR needs to tell ESPN it can not use durring the races.

For this weekends race I am going to just watch the round table show. They actually show more of the racing in one hour than did the crew durring the entire race! (ala Jeff Gordon being taken out by Robby Gordon)

Annon @8/10 9:26 PM

I think if ESPN and all of the networks would broadcast in letter box fasion it would be better for everyone. This would allow the boxes to be bigger on HD TV's and also make it so those of us who do not get ESPN HD (and TNT HD for that matter) to see the whole picture. Fox should also do this. It will just make better use of the space on the TV screen.